Day Two of CUNA's annual Hike the Hill event saw the Texas delegation of credit unions and your League charging the nation's capital in solidarity to protect credit union interests. Key among this year's issues was the federal tax exemption.
Given Congress's intent to reform the tax code, "starting from scratch with a blank sheet of paper," industry representatives spent the day in meetings with lawmakers, driving home the point: Don't tax my credit union!
For more info on this unprecedented campaign, go to CUNA's website at www.cuna.org or go directly to www.donttaxmycreditunion.org
Taxation is such a hot-button issue in the 113th U.S. Congress that The Hill's "On the Money" blog (June 6, 2013) featured a post called "Tax lobbyists work to get on 'The List'" which you can read HERE.
The post states, "Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) plan to rebuild the tax code from scratch, lowering rates and eliminating breaks in the process."
The authors also quote Ryan Donovan, a lobbyist for Credit Union National Association (CUNA): "It changes the question that we have to answer. Credit unions used to simply have to show their tax exemption was proving useful. Now they have to explain why it needs to exist at all."
And that's just what your Texas Hike the Hill delegation did.
James Tuggle, CEO of Transtar FCU, and Steve Gilman, CEO of Members Choice CU, focused on the Houston congressional members. Both Tuggle and Gilman said, "We had some very good responses today regarding the CU tax exemption."
The general consensus by Hike the Hill attendees, after wearing out the soles of their shoes walking up and down the many long halls of the House of Representatives and the Senate building, was that lawmakers re-affirmed their support for the federal tax exemption.
That's great news; however, our work is not nearly done. Since no new tax codes have yet been written, credit unions and your League must remain vigilant in their advocacy efforts. A vital issue like the federal tax exemption cannot be taken for granted.
In addition to tax exemption, Hike the Hill participants took the opportunity to discuss the increasing regulatory burden, raising the member business lending cap, exam fairness, and access to supplemental forms of capital. On all fronts, the feedback was very favorable.
The last day of the event features a special debriefing with NCUA's Senior Strategic Communications and External Relations Advisor, Buddy Gill—a big fan of Texas credit unions.